Sunday, November 13, 2005

Jabès on Judaism

The name was vaguely familiar, but I couldn't quite place it, so when Edmond Jabès was mentioned at The Rhine River, I went surfing to see what I could find. Jabès is a poet, but I think I had run across his name before in the context of something about poststructuralism. In any case, I came across this quotation, which I found interesting:

The Jew has been persecuted for being “other.” But “otherness” is the condition of individuation, the condition of being set apart from the rest of creation in the glorious — and murderous — species of humankind and, in addition, set apart from our fellow humans as individuals, always “other.”

Judaism: a paradoxically collective experience of individuation. Exemplary of the human condition.

(quoted from this review of Waldrop's study of Jabès)

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